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The Performance Review Process For Cincinnati City Manager Paula Boggs Muething Has Begun

City Manager Paula Boggs Muething at a recent Cincinnati Council meeting.
Becca Costello
City Manager Paula Boggs Muething at a recent Cincinnati Council meeting.

A performance review of Cincinnati City Manager Paula Boggs Muething is underway. It's the first time the review process is being used since council updated it two years ago.

Council Member Greg Landsman is chair of the Major Projects and Smart Government Committee. He says the review process was developed with consultant Harry Kangis and finalized when Patrick Duhaney was city manager.

"We were about to kick off Patrick's first year review when COVID struck, and we ended up postponing that review," Landsman said. "And then of course, Patrick left, and Paula Boggs Muething came on. And when she became permanent, which was in the fall of last year, that sort of started the clock on beginning this review."

Boggs Muething took over for Duhaney as interim city manager for a few months before her permanent appointment.

Council approved a 5% merit raise for Boggs Muething in June as part of the city budget. Some on council said they shouldn't approve a raise before they conducted a performance review, although most also praised her work. Boggs Muething is the highest-paid city employee with an annual salary of about $270,000.

The review begins with a self-assessment from Boggs Muething, who prepared a six-page document outlining important initiatives completed (see the full self-assessment below).

She highlights COVID-19 responses, including the new testing and vaccine mandate for city employees; anti-corruption measures endorsed by the Economic Development Reform Panel; securing the city's financial position through reserves and handling federal stimulus; and improving customer service through the new Office of Constituent Affairs.

Each council member and the mayor will meet with one-on-one with Boggs Muething before completing their own written evaluation of her performance. The evaluation form includes:

  • Overall performance assessment
  • Key accomplishments during FY 2021
  • Any key goals not met or only partially complete during FY 2021
  • Personal strengths
  • Opportunities for improvement
  • Personal development plan

Landsman says the entire process will be public and take no more than a couple of weeks.
"We have the ability to go into executive session now, but in my opinion — my very strong opinion — this is not a sensitive HR matter," Landsman said. "This is the review of the CEO of the city of Cincinnati. And so all of it, including all of our feedback, should be public."

Consultant Harry Kangis will collect the feedback from the mayor and council and compile a summary to be filed with the clerk.

Landsman says he hopes to discuss the results at the next Major Projects and Smart Government Committee meeting, scheduled for Oct. 12.

Performance reviews will be annual from this point on, although Boggs Muething may not remain in the job if one candidate for mayor takes over.

Candidate David Mann, a current council member, says she's done a great job and he would keep her on. Candidate Aftab Pureval, current Hamilton County Clerk of Courts, says he would conduct a nationwide search for a city manager and would consider keeping Boggs Muething.

Local Government Reporter with a particular focus on Cincinnati; experienced journalist in public radio and television throughout the Midwest. Enthusiastic about: civic engagement, public libraries, and urban planning.